Time after time I get to a sentence, I read it, and I need to put the book down to let the idea sink in for a while, even for a day or two, before I start reading again. It's a terrific book -- and free from Gil's web site.
Why isn't there more teaching on how we can most skilfully reflect on our deepest intentions, in addition to the great teaching we have on meditation techniques? In other words, centers that focus on Step Two of the Noble Eightfold Path (Right Intention) as opposed to Step 7 (Right Mindfulness)?
As I think about this, I realize that I've stumbled on the Theravada-Mahayana split.
This is such a powerful way to understand karma. The endlessly ramifying and branching and morphing nature of karma often makes it hard to grasp in a single thought.
But here we have the one point where a single person collides with karma: intention.
How extraordinarly useful it is to direct concentrated awareness to the rising and falling of intentions. Is there anything more powerful in this world than a person who is clear about his or her intentions?
Is there anything more useful to the world than a person who fulfills his or her most wholesome intentions?
When I am tracking my intentions well I feel truly steady, balanced and connected in love to others.
At the very least, this suggests it would be wholesome to start a "daily intention reflection" practice, or to integrate this central element, even by brief reminders, into every daily meditation session.
That's what we do, of course, when we say things like "We undertake this practice not just for ourselves but for the sake of all beings." In my weekly sitting group, we end each of our weekly meditation sessions by reciting these words. They've always meant a lot to me. But they resonate even more now.